We’re here to conduct robust scientific research that generates new knowledge, provides solutions to real problems, and makes our world a more habitable place for future generations. As the saying goes, “we take our work seriously — ourselves, less so.”
We work hard and work smart for each other, our partners and our customers. We test our ideas early and often with real users and we sacrifice our comfort regularly to ask hard questions and have honest conversations.
We recognise that genuine innovation comes from thinking and acting differently from the status quo. It’s certainly not easy finding new ways to solve problems – which is why we spend time investing in our team.
Prior to Xerra, Steve was the CEO of the GÉANT Association, overseeing both operating companies in Amsterdam and Cambridge. GÉANT runs the pan-European high-performance R&E network serving more than 50 million users from 41 countries. Before joining GÉANT, he was the CEO of REANNZ, the New Zealand R&E network.
He joined REANNZ from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) in 2011. As the head of ESnet, he was responsible for providing high-performance networking to thousands of researchers and scientists at more than 40 national laboratories and research institutions.
Prior to ESnet, he served as Google’s network deployment manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before being hired by Google, Steve worked for Internet2, the R&E network in the U.S. as Deputy Operations Officer and was CEO and President of their wholly owned subsidiary, FiberCo.
Steve got his start in telecommunications and networking at SBC Global Communications (now AT&T), serving as a Director in network engineering and construction departments, and also in optical networking as an engineer and program manager at Cisco Systems. He served eight years as an Officer and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. Steve attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Steve also earned an MBA from Boston University.
Steve moved to Alexandra in August 2017, after accepting the role at Xerra.
Prior to Xerra Andy was Head of Design at Xero, where he lead and grew a global team of designers, and helped shape Xero’s product strategy. He’s held previous roles as Creative Director at Springload, and Senior User Experience Designer at Amazon.
His work straddles the blurry line between strategy, user research, product management and design. He’s focused on the people using our products, and thinks great software is like a wonderful person: it’s respectful, generous and helpful.
Andy and his partner live in Wellington. They’re keen cyclists and have recently returned from a multi-year trip exploring the greater mountain ranges of the world by bicycle and on foot.
For the past six years, Emma co-owned a retail business in Alexandra. During this time, she also worked part-time for over three years as personal assistant to Dr Greg Bodeker. Greg’s company, Bodeker Scientific, was the lead agency in the successful funding application that led to the formation of Xerra (Formerly CSST).
Prior to this, Emma worked for a number of years as an occupational therapist within the health and education sectors in New Zealand.
Heather studied for her MSc. at Cranfield College of Aeronautics, including remote sensing and satellite imagery for the management of biological resources. After gaining her pilot’s licence, Heather built a career as an instructor, training military pilots in the UK before moving into operations management and business development. Heather emigrated to New Zealand in 2006 with her family where she managed Safe Air and Airbus NZ before taking up a role with NZ’s Innovation Agency, Callaghan Innovation.
In her spare time, Heather enjoys horse-riding vaquero style, e-biking and walking her dog with her partner.
Kelly worked at a market research agency with a focus on developing their community management SaaS offering. She has held previous roles in research, product marketing and product management at Westpac New Zealand where she worked for over 10 years. To deliver effective marketing Kelly knows that this must be underpinned with a depth of customer understanding, strategy and planning. Her role at Xerra tackles complex communication channels at each stage of the customer journey for Starboard Maritime Intelligence.
Kelly has recently returned to study, completing a post-graduate certificate in the Internet of Things (IoT).
Kelly lives in Auckland with her active family who spend most of their free time playing rugby, netball, football, swimming and running.
Sophie is interested in how theories in social psychology can be applied to influence consumer’s habits and behaviours, and how these theories may differ between contrasting international markets. Sophie enjoys learning about the components of human relations within business and how organisations can build a high level of trust with their customers.
Sophie has previous work experience as an intern with New Zealand King Salmon, where she developed a good base set of skills within finance, HR and marketing. Sophie completed an internship with Xerra over the summer of 2020-2021, to assist them with their efforts in market research in the Pacific Islands. She then worked part-time as an Office Administrator alongside the Director of People, completing finance & HR related tasks during her last year of study. Sophie now works full time, producing content and completing digital marketing for Xerra.
Originally from Nelson, she now lives in sunny Island Bay in Wellington, and is often at the gym, cooking, or catching up with friends in her spare time.
Science & Research
Andrew relocated back home to New Zealand in 2018 and currently works remotely from Queenstown, within easy access to the Southern Alps for snowboarding and cycling.
Previously, Dave was a research scientist with the Geographic Information Science and Technology Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), America’s largest multi-program science and technology laboratory and home of the world’s fastest supercomputer. Working at the interface between raw satellite imagery and application-oriented end-users, Dave knows how to translate large volumes of complex data into actionable information at scale. In support of government and humanitarian agencies, he designed and led an innovative, state-of-the-art capability to reconstruct the topography of the Earth’s surface from multiple-view satellite imagery, using techniques similar to stereo vision. The resulting high-resolution elevation data are critical to applications ranging from emergency response to freshwater quality and critical infrastructure.
Dave received the PhD degree in Imaging Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, earning the Doctoral Dissertation of the Year award for his environmental monitoring research with NASA. His work has been featured in magazines such as National Geographic and The Smithsonian.
Active in public outreach, Duncan is the author of four books, and more than a thousand articles in newspapers and magazines published around the globe. He has also appeared in many TV documentaries, and radio interviews.
Minor planet 4713 Steel is named for him, as is a lunar-roving robot in one of Arthur C.Clarke’s novels.
While at NASA Joseph was part of a team developing algorithms for NASA Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System, helping to continue more than 30 years of Earth Radiation Budget measurements and producing data products used by researchers studying the Earth’s climate. His work at NASA included all aspects of satellite data processing, from the calibration of instruments, development of retrieval algorithms, validation of data products, and fusion of multiple data sources. It even involved a month of flying in C-130 over the Arctic Ocean. More recently, after returning to New Zealand, he worked as a Data Scientist at an electricity retailer, using machine learning and other techniques to extract information from data.
As a senior research fellow at the University of Waikato, Moritz developed new methods for satellite-based monitoring of lake water quality and applied these to over 1400 New Zealand lakes. He has been with Xerra since September 2018 where his work includes operationalisation of satellite data products for the monitoring of aquatic environments and fundamental research on hard questions such as atmospheric correction.
Moritz lives in Raglan where he enjoys New Zealand’s perennial summer (compared with Canadian climes) practicing horsemanship and longboard surfing.
To follow his interest in applying algorithms beyond the academic arena, he undertook a position at OmniVision/CDM optics, where he led the research group developing computational imaging systems for cell phones, and represented the company in the International Imaging Industry Association. He then joined Harris Corporation, where he identified and developed innovative algorithms for calibrating and analysing satellite and airborne imagery. Here his passion for spatiotemporal analysis brought new capabilities for analysing landcover changes. His interest in precision agriculture led him to AGERpoint, where he developed LiDAR algorithms to analyse crop health, structure, and yield.
Robert has worked extensively with many remote sensing modalities and has a thorough understanding of their application, calibration, and phenomenology. His passion lies in translating remote sensing observations of the environment into actionable information.
Engineering & Design
His past experience has seen him work across a myriad of different sides of the web, from building applications that run entirely in the browser through to writing scalable web APIs and architecting server infrastructure.
James likes to keep up to date with the latest developments and fast paced changes that are now synonymous with the web’s front-end ecosystem. He’s always had a fascination with new technology and is now enjoying working on the cutting edge at Xerra.
James spent several years living and working in Canada but has always felt a strong connection to New Zealand where he now lives back in his home town of Wellington.
As a design practitioner, Julie has worked across Xero and Trade Me in their respective design teams to help shape and improve their product experience, as well as the design and product development processes. Prior to joining Xerra, she has been working with government agencies through Fjord/Accenture to help stand up new systems or improve existing services for everyone. She has led projects, teams, and had the pleasure of mentoring other designers along the way.
Julie lives in Wellington with her husband and cat. In her spare time, she sends snail mail to her pen pals, fusses over her indoor plants, and writes in her journal.
Justin has had forays in music score editing and image editing, and has a keen interest hillwalking, hiking and motorcycling. Justin and his wife live and work in Alexandra, where they own a property that is hiding beneath a covering of scrub, which they are slowly clearing to reveal rugged outcrops of Central Otago schist.
Before joining Xerra, Laszlo worked remotely as Principal Software Engineer at Oracle and Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems. At Xerra, he builds and maintains the technology that powers our data analytics and machine learning that make up our products and services. Laszlo closely collaborates with our researchers and business stakeholders to understand their particular needs, then translates those into technical requirements to come up with the most effective and efficient solutions for architecting our technology.
Originally from Hungary, Laszlo lived in various places around the globe before settling in Dunedin, where he's lived for more than a decade. He's very active in the community, along with his family. On a nice day you might find him kayaking or sailing in the beautiful Otago harbour!
During his studies, he has worked in software development roles that allowed him to became familiar with the use of satellite data and processing and to gain experience in interactive mapping applications which provided web services to end users. Through these experiences, Max has found his keen interest in developing optimised algorithms and working across a range of technologies to create effective solutions to technical problems, that provide value for other people.
In his spare time, Max enjoys taking advantage of being in the outdoors through his sporting interests of whitewater kayaking, skiing, swimming and marathon running. When recovering, he can often be found head down in a book or spending time with his friends.
Prior to moving to New Zealand, Simeon worked in the IT division at Berkeley Lab in California, USA. His earlier career in South Africa started at universities in Pretoria and Cape Town, after which he joined the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where he developed remote sensing software. He later led the engineering team at the CSIR that built the South African Research Network (SANReN).
Simeon enjoys working with technology that helps researchers turn their ideas into products and services that benefit society.
Tama started by building products for small NZ companies and ended up working with companies such as Kiwibank, NZ Red Cross & NZ Festival of the Arts. He served as Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director at several startups (like Springload) and as a software engineer before joining the team at Xerra. Excited to be working with our researchers, Tama shares the belief that there are limitless possibilities for turning data that’s being collected into products that have the potential to change the world.
Born in New Zealand, Tama has lived around the world, including the US, Canada and even the French Alps. He lives in Nelson with his partner and young son and spends a lot of time trekking and biking up and down whatever mountain he can find.